Is there a doctor in the house? There’s more than 700 this weekend in Wellington

5 August 2021 

On Friday more than 700 GPs and other health professionals will put down their stethoscopes and descend on Wellington for The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners annual conference. The conference programme has been created with GPs’ and rural hospital doctors’ interests in mind. Alongside our inspiring keynote speakers, the programme will showcase advances in health care technology, new clinical research, environmental and sector sustainability, rural health, continuity of care and the commitment to continuous quality improvement.

The theme of this year’s conference is Building for the future - transforming the health sector; Ka mate kāinga tahi, ka ora kāinga rua (from adversity comes opportunity to make change)

New Zealand’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic and how GPs played a major part in that response will be a key focus of the programme. We will look at how to build resilience and transform the way general practice and rural hospitals operate in the current environment.

The College’s commitment to improving cultural safety and health equity will be discussed in-depth along with identifying what additional support GPs need in relation to their wellbeing, the pandemic response and in terms of future planning for New Zealand’s health system.

In addition, the College will be holding a graduation ceremony for new our GPs and College award winners.

Interviews can be arranged with the College President Dr Samantha Murton, Medical Director Dr Bryan Betty, and availability permitting, our keynote and plenary speakers.

More information can be found on the conference website.

Keynote speakers 

Dr Ashley Bloomfield
Dr Bloomfield was appointed Director-General of Health in 2018 and became a household name in New Zealand during the COVID-19 pandemic through his regular stand-ups alongside Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Dr Bloomfield has received praise both locally and internationally for his calm, accessible and effective communication of complex public health considerations during a national emergency.

Dame Clare Gerada (virtual presentation)
Having first trained in psychiatry at the Maudsely Hospital, Dame Clare followed in her father’s footsteps and became a GP, working in her practice in South London for thirty years. Over this time she has also held a number of national leadership positions including in 2010, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, only the second woman in its 55-year history to hold this position.
She has led the way in developing services for doctors and dentists with mental health problems, establishing and leading NHS Practitioner Health since 2008. This has been, not only a world first, but massively impactful, particularly on young doctors and consequently on the patients they look after and the teams in which they work.

Dame Clare not only still leads NHS Practitioner Health but has, in 2020 established a service for problem gamblers; chairs the newly formed registered charity, Doctors in Distress, is now co-chair of the NHS Assembly. In 2020 she was made a Dame in the Queen’s birthday honours, making her the first Maltese person to be knighted.

Nigel Latta
Nigel trained as a Clinical Psychologist and worked for over two decades in the areas of forensic psychology and family therapy. In 2010, as a result of his passion for science and science education, Nigel was invited to become an associate of the world leading Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study at the University of Otago. In 2012 he was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to psychology. He has written eight books which have been published in 19 countries and in 10 languages. His television career has spanned almost a decade and he has presented a number of series.

Professor David Tipene-Leach
Professor Tipene-Leach (Ngāti Kere, Ngāti Manuhiri) is Professor of Māori and Indigenous Research at Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) and a Fellow of the College. He is a champion for health equity and speaks widely about racism and unconscious bias in the health system. He is known for his innovative and life-changing work in Māori health, including developing and championing the use of wahakura, a woven flax basket (and the plastic pepi-pod) that allows parents to safety share a bed with their newborns. In 2018, Professor Tipene-Leach was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and health.

Professor James Renwick
James is a climate researcher who studies Southern Hemisphere climate variability, and the impacts of climate change on the Pacific, New Zealand, and the Antarctic. James has been a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for many years. He was awarded the Prime Minister’s 2018 prize for Science Communication and was appointed to the New Zealand Climate Change Commission in 2019.